Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
on Sunday said he was unaware of plans for direct talks
and the United States as reported by the New York Times on Saturday. "We have no information on such contacts and I cannot say they are happening," Netanyahu said.
The prime minister further added, "Iran is actively using negotiations to advance its nuclear program and buy time. During this year's talks with the West, Tehran enriched thousands of kilograms of uranium so it's unlikely the case will be any different with the US."
Netanyahu said that the best way to solve the Iranian nuclear problem peacefully would be to impose even tougher sanctions
on Tehran and prepare a credible military option.
According to the New York Times, the US and Iran agreed to one-on-one negotiations following secret exchanges that date back to beginning of President Barack Obama's term.
The report found Israeli officials slightly confounded. Senior state officials struggled to provide answers to whether or not the US and Iran have been engaging in secret contacts and whether Israel was aware of this backchannel.
Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Sunday that the Iranians refuse to engage in direct negotiations but noted he would welcome any negotiation that would halt Iran's nuclear program.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
also addressed the reports and said he "believes the White House's denial" adding there was no reason to doubt it. "I think that the US understands who they're dealing with. They have a decade of experience vis-a-vis Iran on these issues. The Iranian proposals are meant to buy time and to cheat."
Aviel Magnezi contributed to this report